What Is Mechatronics Engineering? Definition and Examples
Updated March 16, 2023
Mechatronics is a type of engineering that focuses on a combination of mechanical, computer and electrical systems. Mechatronics engineers specialize in both electrical engineering and mechanics and can work in a variety of jobs across multiple disciplines. In this article, we explore what mechatronics engineering is, what a mechatronics engineer does and the steps you can take to pursue this career path.
What is mechatronics engineering?
Mechatronics engineering is an engineering field that includes many different disciplines including computer, mechanic and electronic engineering. This type of engineering focuses on both mechanical and electrical systems and may incorporate the use of computer systems, robotics, control systems, electronics and telecommunications. Examples of products that have been designed using mechatronics engineering include DVDs, car anti-lock braking systems and computer hard discs. While each of these products is mechanical, they require computer and electrical control systems to function.
What do mechatronics engineers do?
A mechatronics engineer may work in a variety of engineering fields and perform several different duties. Mechatronics engineers most commonly work with a mechanical team, an engineering team or both. They often work with electronics, real-time software, instrumentation and other mechanical and/or electrical machines. A mechatronics engineer typically plays a fundamental role in product development and uses engineering principles such as electronics, software, mechanics and control engineering throughout the developmental process.
Common duties of a mechatronics engineer include:
Use mechanical, computer and/or electronic technology to develop solutions to problems.
Improve existing production processes by implementing automation.
Develop and build various products related to mechanical and/or electrical needs.
Study the viability of current and new mechatronic equipment.
Apply control systems that improve product performance.
Conduct simulation and modeling of engineering systems.
A mechatronics engineer may work in industries that include robotics, manufacturing and aerospace. They work in a variety of settings, including laboratories, offices, processing plants and global enterprises.
How to become a mechatronics engineer
The following are the steps that most individuals pursuing a career as a mechatronics engineer take:
1. Obtain a bachelor's degree
Most states require you to have a minimum of a bachelor's degree to be eligible to work as a mechatronics engineer. Common majors for mechatronics engineers include mechatronics engineering, mechanical engineering, robotics or a related field. These are typically four-to-five year programs and provides students with the knowledge of fundamental engineering principles related to the mechatronics industry.
2. Get experience
Many employers require potential mechatronics engineer candidates to have a few years of experience working in a similar industry either as an intern or as an engineer. Working or interning in automation, factory production or a related area can provide valuable hands-on experience. Additionally, to receive certification to work independently as a mechatronics engineer, you will likely be required to have a minimum of four years of experience working as an engineer.
3. Become certified
There are various certifications you can pursue to further your career as a mechatronics engineer. A few of the most common certifications include PMMI Mechatronics: Industrial Electricity 1, PMMI Mechatronics: Industrial Electricity 2, PMMI Mechatronics: Mechanical Components 1 and PMMI Mechatronics: Programmable Logic Controllers 1. All of these certifications are offered through the Packaging Machinery Manufacturing Institute.
Mechatronics engineering jobs
There are several different careers that a mechatronics engineer can pursue. The following are a few of the most common jobs that a mechatronics engineer may hold:
An automotive engineer is concerned with the development and improvement of vehicles including cars, vans, buses, trucks and motorcycles. As an automotive engineer, you may use your mechatronics engineering skills to design the mechanisms and systems of vehicles. Automotive engineers also work to solve problems in existing vehicle systems as well as oversee the manufacturing of cars.
A project engineer oversees an engineering team throughout the design and creation of a mechanical or technical engineering project. Project engineers typically work with all parties related to a project including stakeholders and teams. They are directly responsible for planning, budgeting and project personnel throughout the duration of an engineering project.
Read more: Learn About Being a Project Engineer
Systems engineers are primarily responsible for developing and maintaining the efficiency of systems and processes. They may work in various fields including software, product development and manufacturing. A systems engineer's goal is to create systems that can develop products from start to finish with little to no human interference.
Read more: Learn About Being a Systems Engineer
A software engineer is a professional who uses the principles of software engineering to develop, design and build computer software. Common types of software that this engineer may develop include middleware, business applications, video and computer games and network control systems. A software engineer may also work as an applications engineer by designing, installing and maintaining computer programs and applications for businesses. A software engineer may also be referred to as a software developer, computer programmer or computer scientist.
An instrumentation engineering is in charge of designing, installing and maintaining machinery and control systems within a manufacturing setting. They may also oversee and manage teams that are responsible for operating control systems that are already designed and in place. Common products that may be designed by an instrumentation engineer include blood glucose monitors, smoke detectors and machine sensors. This type of engineer can work in a variety of industries and may be employed by organizations that include biomedical firms, defense contractors, government agencies and private engineering firms.
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